Prior experience in the military or emergency services may have provided you with knowledge and skills essential to perform your duties efficiently. However, civilian employers might not be able to effectively translate the things you picked up during service, even if you are highly qualified for the job you are applying for. For this reason, former service people are encouraged to take-up courses to earn the qualifications they need to get hired. However, with prior experience, you may qualify for RPL assessment. This process could help you earn qualifications sooner and may even let you skip taking the entire course like a regular student.
RPL stands for ‘recognition of prior learning’ and is designed to award people formal qualifications based on their professional experiences. An RPL assessment could give you credit for the skills and knowledge you might already have, so you don’t have to go through all the parts of the course to earn the qualification. Where and how you gained that knowledge and skills, do not matter, as long as they are linked to the qualification’s units of competency.
If you are considering RPL assessment, it’s important to understand that it involves the previous study in both informal (i.e. workplace training and community education) and formal (i.e. school or TAFE) education, life experience, and work experience, whether paid or unpaid. To earn the credit, the assessment should find that you have the knowledge and skills that can make you competent in the qualification that you want. RPL may be granted for an aspect of a qualification where a Statement of Attainment may be issued to the awarded Units of Competency, or for an entire qualification.
Reputable schools will let you know if you can apply for RPL. That said, they are also obligated to support you throughout RPL assessment by keeping you informed and help you obtain the evidence to support your prior experience.